1. Who is the Danish Refugee Council?
Founded in 1956, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) is a leading international NGO and one of the few with a specific expertise in forced displacement. Active in 40 countries with 9,000 employees and supported by 7,500 volunteers, DRC protects, advocates, and builds sustainable futures for refugees and other displacement-affected people and communities. DRC works during displacement at all stages: In the acute crisis, in displacement, when settling and integrating in a new place, or upon return. DRC provides protection and life-saving humanitarian assistance; supports displaced persons in becoming self-reliant and included in hosting societies; and works with civil society and responsible authorities to promote the protection of rights and peaceful coexistence.
DRC has had an uninterrupted presence in Ukraine since 2014 supporting the humanitarian response to the conflict from 2014 in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, eastern Ukraine. Since 2022, DRC has been active across four of its core sectors in Ukraine – Protection (including legal aid), Shelter and Settlements, Economic Recovery (including multi-purpose cash assistance and distribution of non-food items), as well as Humanitarian Disarmament and Peacebuilding (HDP). Within its HDP portfolio, DRC is the only organization in Ukraine implementing four humanitarian mine action (HMA) pillars: Humanitarian Demining, Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE), Victim Assistance (VA), and Advocacy. DRC is co-chairing the VA Working Group aimed at improving policies, structures, and opportunities for survivors of EO accidents in Ukraine. Currently, DRC has seven offices in western, eastern, northern, and southern Ukraine (Lviv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, and Mykolaiv) with over 550 staff and scaling up activities across all sectors and areas of operations.
2. Purpose of the Consultancy
The DRC based in Ukraine is seeking a consultant for a comprehensive assessment of the current state of DRC's policies and offices in Ukraine regarding the inclusion of people with disabilities and women with children. The plan is to identify and analyze potential gaps in DRC's compliance with Ukrainian legislation on the employment of people with disabilities and international standards of inclusion and diversity. The consultant will also provide practical recommendations on how to improve inclusion and compliance with relevant legislation, norms, and standards.
According to the official statistics of the Social Protection Fund for Persons with Disabilities of Ukraine, at the beginning of 2022, the total number of officially registered people with disabilities was more than 2,725,0001. According to the Minister of Social Policy, during the war in Ukraine, the number of people with disabilities increased by almost 300,000.
In the face of the ongoing humanitarian crisis, OHCHR's report2 from November 1, 2023, reveals the harrowing toll on civilians in Ukraine. With 28,345 casualties from explosive weapons recorded, comprising 9,965 deaths and 18,380 injuries since February 24, 2022, these figures only scratch the surface of the true human cost. The grim reality is that the actual numbers are likely much higher, and the toll keeps rising, underscoring the urgent need for international attention and aid. Even if the war ends tomorrow, explosive ordnance (EO) will remain, continuing to endanger lives and limbs. With the increasing contamination of the territories by EO, the number of people with disabilities (whose disability or permanent injuries were caused by accidents, bombings, and shelling related to explosive ordnance or by the war in general) is expected to keep growing.
A particularly acute problem faced by people with disabilities is the harsh reality of unemployment. Experts (representatives of the National Association of People with Disabilities, UNDP, and European Disability Forum) have previously indicated that the current level of job adaptation for people with disabilities is catastrophically low, indicating a systemic failure to provide full and inclusive employment opportunities. This underscores the relevance of targeted interventions to remove the barriers that prevent this vulnerable population from fully participating in the labor force.
Given the fact that a significant number of men have changed their occupations and are directly involved in the war, the number of women who have to go to work to provide for themselves and their young children is growing steadily. However, the presence of young children and women's obligations to them do not allow them to fully adjust to a regular work process and schedule.
In adherence to the AGDM Minimum Standards3, DRC recognizes the moral imperative to prioritize the well-being and inclusion of individuals with disabilities, as well as women with young children, within its workspaces. This commitment is a response to the identified gaps and challenges in the current humanitarian landscape. To address these issues comprehensively, DRC is planning to conduct an in-depth assessment of the state of inclusion in its workplaces. This assessment aims not only to identify existing challenges but also to lay the groundwork for meaningful improvements, ensuring that DRC's operations align with the highest standards of inclusivity and support for those most affected by the conflict. DRC recognizes that there is a large number of diversity factors, but it is not possible for this study to address all existing ones, so DRC identified two key ones to make the study more manageable and focused. In focusing on individuals with disabilities and women with young children, DRC underscores its commitment to leaving no one behind in its humanitarian efforts.
4. Objective of the Consultancy
The purpose of the consultancy is to assess the current state of DRC's policies and offices in Ukraine regarding the inclusion of people with disabilities and women with children. The assessment will also identify and analyze potential gaps in DRC’s compliance with Ukrainian legislation on the employment of people with disabilities and international standards of inclusion and diversity. The consultant will also provide practical guidance on how to improve inclusiveness and compliance with relevant regulations and standards. In particular, the consultant will:
• Analyse the compliance of the DRC HR department's policies and procedures related to the recruitment, including remote working, working hours, compensation cycle for DRC staff, parental leave, etc., and support of new employees, particularly in the context of people with disabilities and women with young children. This analysis will encompass various aspects, including but not limited to job advertisements, interview accommodations for people with disabilities, flexible work schedules, and more;
• Examine the needs for changes during the adaptation and induction period of new hires, considering inclusiveness and diversity, including but not limited to induction meetings, e-learning courses, employee training programs, and other relevant factors;
• Conduct a comprehensive study of physical accessibility and adherence to Universal Design principles4 and accessibility criteria in DRC Ukraine's offices: Country Office in Kyiv and regional offices in Lviv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Chernihiv, Sumy, and Mykolaiv. This assessment will cover areas such as doorways, the availability of ramps, visual signage adaptation, wheelchair accessibility, provision of information through printed media, sound notifications (including air raid sirens), restroom accessibility, access to shelters and workspace adaptability;
• Analyse the physical and digital infrastructure of DRC’s business processes for their adaptability to accommodate people with disabilities and women with young children. This analysis will include systems like, e.g. Dynamics, SharePoint, InSite, document signing procedures, participating in online and in-person meetings, and more;
• Assess the physical and digital outreach materials produced by DRC (e.g. EORE materials), including but not limited to flyers, brochures, newsletters, posters, banners, and other communication materials regarding their suitability to the needs of people with various sensory impairments;
• Develop a comprehensive list of recommendations aimed at guiding DRC in Ukraine towards (greater) compliance with Ukrainian legislation and international standards of inclusion and diversity. These recommendations will encompass adaptations to processes, policies, and procedures to create a more inclusive and diverse work environment.
5. Scope of work and methodology
The contractor will be expected to provide the following services:
Review of policies and procedures. Assess and analyze existing organizational policies, procedures, and guidelines through a diversity, equality, and inclusion lens, in the context of people with disabilities and women with young children. Identify strengths and potential gaps in existing policies and practices. Assess whether existing policies are in line with best practices and legal requirements in Ukraine;
Employee engagement. Design and conduct a survey to elicit employee opinions and experiences on workplace inclusion. Conduct in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with a diverse group of employees to gather qualitative information. Explore employee perceptions of organizational culture, inclusion initiatives, and areas for improvement;
Assessment of the physical workspace. Conduct a comprehensive assessment of the physical workspace to evaluate its accessibility and inclusiveness according to the Universal Design guidelines5. Identify potential barriers or issues that may affect employees with different needs. Evaluate the availability and effectiveness of adaptations for people with disabilities, including existing office space;
Data analysis. Analyse data collected from surveys, interviews, and assessments to identify trends, patterns, and key themes. Conduct a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the current state of inclusion in the organization;
Benchmarking and best practices. Conduct a benchmarking exercise comparing DRC’s inclusion practices to industry standards and best practices. Identify successful models and initiatives from other organizations that can be adapted to improve inclusion;
Consultation with stakeholders. Engage with key stakeholders, including management, human resources, and others, to gather different perspectives on inclusion. Facilitate discussions to understand the organization's goals and expectations for inclusion;
Recommendations. Based on the findings, provide practical recommendations for improving workplace inclusion, with a focus on people with disabilities and women with young children. Prioritize the recommendations based on their feasibility, impact, and potential challenges. Propose strategies for implementing the recommended changes, including timelines and resource requirements. The recommendations should be tiered, with the first tier providing general recommendations for improving processes and procedures, adapting policies, and making the workplace accessible. The second tier of recommendations should include a list of specific changes (physical, infrastructure, and digital) that the organization should consider in order to implement the inclusion and diversity policy. The third level of practical recommendations with proposed ways of re-equipment, according to the norms and state building regulations SBR6, estimates, necessary reconstruction, etc.;
Reporting. Prepare an inception report describing the proposed methodology, tools, and work plan.
Submit an interim report summarizing initial results and observations for feedback. Prepare a comprehensive final report that includes a detailed analysis, identified areas for improvement, and a roadmap for improving inclusion;
Presentation. Present findings and recommendations to key stakeholders, including senior management, human resources, and relevant employee groups. Facilitate a discussion to gather feedback and ideas from stakeholders;
Monitoring and evaluation. Develop a monitoring and evaluation system to track the implementation of recommendations over time. Provide recommendations on key performance indicators to measure the success of inclusion initiatives;
Capacity building. Provide recommendations for capacity-building initiatives to ensure that employees and management are prepared to create and maintain an inclusive work environment. This comprehensive scope of work is designed to provide a holistic understanding of the current state of inclusion in the organization and guide the development of targeted measures to improve the situation.
The Consultant will submit the following deliverables as mentioned in the RFP Letter.
7. Duration, Timeline, and Payment
The total expected duration to complete the assignment will be no more than 5 months.
8. Proposed Composition of Team
9. Eligibility, qualification, and experience required
To ensure the successful completion of the needs assessment of inclusive workspaces, the consultant or firm should possess the following qualifications and experience:
Diversity and inclusion expertise: Demonstrated expertise in diversity, equality, and inclusion, with a deep understanding of best practices, trends, and challenges in creating an inclusive workplace. Knowledge and experience in assessing and improving physical workspace to ensure accessibility, accommodate diverse needs, and create an inclusive environment.
Employment Law Knowledge: In-depth knowledge of relevant employment laws, regulations, and compliance requirements in Ukraine, related to diversity and inclusion, particularly within the organizational context.
Proven Experience in Needs Assessments and Surveys: Proven experience in conducting needs assessments or similar organizational evaluations as well as surveys, preferably with a focus on inclusivity in the workplace.
Excellent Communication Skills: Excellent written and verbal communication skills to convey complex information in a clear and understandable manner, as well as facilitate discussions with diverse groups.
Confidentiality and Ethics: Commitment to maintaining confidentiality and adherence to ethical standards in handling sensitive data and information.
Language Level: Fluency in Ukrainian and English languages.
10. Technical Supervision
The selected consultant will work under the supervision of the DRC HDP Programme Manager and DRC HDP VA Specialists.
11. Location and Support
The DRC Ukraine country office is in Kyiv and regional offices are in Lviv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Chernihiv, Sumy, and Mykolaiv. The Consultant will provide her/his own computer and mobile telephone. The consultant will comply with all applicable DRC safety rules throughout their work in-country.
The evaluation will be conducted in Ukraine. In case of international experts, a tourist visa for Ukraine will last for three months; a longer (work) visa cannot be provided for the consultant(s). While the consultant(s) will have to budget for all travel-related and other costs in their financial bid.
13. Submission Process
According to the RFP Invitation letter.